Gone with the wind: Is signal timing in a neotropical katydid an adaptive response to variation in wind-induced vibratory noise?

Estefania Velilla*, Matías Muñoz, Nicol Quiroga, Laurel Symes, Hannah M. ter Hofstede, Rachel A. Page, Ralph Simon, Jacintha Ellers, Wouter Halfwerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Wind, a major source of environmental noise, forces invertebrates that communicate with plant-borne vibrations to adjust their signaling when communicating in windy conditions. However, the strategies that animals use to reduce the impact of wind noise on communication are not well studied. We investigated the effects of wind on the production of tremulatory signals in the neotropical katydid Copiphora brevirostris. First, we recorded katydid signaling activity and natural wind variation in the field. Additionally, we exposed katydid couples during their most active signaling time period to artificial wind of different levels, and we recorded the number of tremulations produced by the males. We found that wind levels are at their lowest between 2:00 and 5:00 in the morning, which coincides with peak signaling period for male katydids. Furthermore, we found that males produce significantly fewer tremulations when exposed to wind rather than acoustic noise or silence. Wind velocity significantly affected the number of tremulations produced during the wind treatment, with fewer tremulations produced with higher wind velocities. Our results show that katydids can time their vibratory signaling both in the short- and long-term to favorable sensory conditions, either through behavioral flexibility in response to short-term fluctuations in wind or as a result of an evolutionary process in response to predictable periods of low-wind conditions. 

Original languageEnglish
Article number59
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2020


  • Communication
  • Katydids
  • Neotropics
  • Signal timing
  • Tremulations
  • Wind


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